Organizing Your Medicine Cabinet

I don’t know about you, but my medicine cabinet is either neglected and/or forgotten, until the moment I need something.  I find myself buying duplicates of everything or worse searching for the medicine for my 3 year old in the middle of the night, and finding the medicine is expired.  So, I’m going to walk you through the steps I’m taking to be prepared, and get our medicine cabinet orderly & organized, just in time for flu season!  

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First, we need to remove everything from the cabinet.  Wipe the cabinet clean of dust or liquid that may have spilled, then look through all the medication and remove anything that is expired.  In most cities there is a place you can take prescriptions, and expired medicine, and they will dispose of it properly.  If you live in Columbia, MO here is the link https://www.como.gov/WaterandLight/Water/drugdisposal.php

The other option is to dispose of the medicine in a clear plastic bag with either dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds, and a little water.  The reason for this is according to the FDA it makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs.  Then place the sealed plastic bag in the trash.  Lastly, dispose of the containers or prescription box after blacking out and removing names or any other personal information.

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Now, let’s start separating and putting similar items together.  Some of your items might be prescriptions, anti-itch cream, allergy meds, cold meds, etc.  Once you have your categories separated out, look through everything and take notes on what needs to be replaced. 

Next, we need to talk about how every household should have a first aid kit either in the medicine cabinet or close by.  Click the link below to see what the The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits have for a family of four:  http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/anatomy-of-a-first-aid-kit

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Now that you have your medicine categorized, and have a list of what you need from the store, we can start focusing on what type of bins to buy or use.  Most of the time you may have a bin already in your home that you can reuse for this project.  If you don’t, or want something new, I prefer shallow clear bins for the medicine cabinet.   Then in the linen closet where I have my first aid kit, and all the other medication I prefer having bins with lids.  It is one more way to keep the medication safe and away from any curious kiddos.    

Next to your medicine, I like to have a sheet of paper with proper doses for each of my kids, and doctors contact information .  At every doctor appointment my child receives an updated piece of card stock with the child’s information on it.  I can then place that on the inside of the cabinet, where all the children’s medicine is kept. 

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So, after going to the store and buying bins, any other medicine and first aid items the next step is deciding where to put everything.  I personally keep the adult medication separate from the children, because I would never want to take the chance of giving my children the wrong medication.  The children’s medicine is kept in our kitchen on a high cabinet next to their plates and cups.  The adult medication, first aid kit and any other prescriptions in our linen closet on the highest shelf (that I can reach) with a lid on it.  You can personalize this system to better fit your needs.  You have to find something that works for your individual family.  I’m sure as my children get older, the placement of our medicine cabinet will change, but for right now this is what works well for us and keeps everyone safe and well. 

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Lastly, it’s time to label, and place the bins back into the cabinets and or linen closet.